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apotato

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I just found this forum and I am happy to find a section dedicated to nontraditional students! This year I will be turning 30 and I have a 2 year old son. I'm very seriously considering medical school, but am afraid that it might be too late for me to achieve my dreams. I graduated high school in 2000 and it took me 7 years to get my B.S. in a non-science related field of study; the first 4 years was spent not knowing what I wanted to do and bouncing from school to school. Ever since graduating, I have taken evening courses as a continuing education student and most of these are science related: microbiology, anatomy and physiology (I and II), statistics. For a while I thought I would be applying to become a nurse, but the past year and a half I have begun to realize I want to be a doctor. I am interested in neonatology and endocrinology (kind of random), but I don't have any experience in the medical field (other than medical billing) so at this time I would probably surprise myself with what I might be interested in later. I believe becoming a nurse is a noble and challenging profession and would probably fulfill my desire to continually learn and help people, but I believe I would also still want more.

I'm looking for advice in general and hopefully from someone else who has taken the plunge despite being older and having a young child.

I'm also worried that because I don't have any experience in a health-related field that my dreams are rather rose-colored and romanticized. I've begun searching for some books and articles about being a medical profession in today's times. If anybody has any suggestions or links, that would also be appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!
 

gonnif

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Lots of people, 30s, 40,s 50s, kids, no kids, married, single, Between SDN, OldPreMeds, and MomMD, you'll find hundreds, maybe thousands of people in your shoes who want to be come physicians. Is it hard? yes. Can you do it? yes. Can achieve all and more than you want? yes. My favorite story is a recent past chair of the board of trustees for the American Medical Association who didnt start medical school until she was 35.
 

DrMidlife

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I'm also worried that because I don't have any experience in a health-related field that my dreams are rather rose-colored and romanticized.
Good thing to worry about. A standard approach to assessing the realism of a medical aspiration is to get clinical exposure, which can be accessed by volunteering in a hospital or clinic. That volunteer gig should expose you to opportunities to shadow physicians, get other volunteering opportunities, and get info about what other premeds are doing in your town.

When you've spent dozens of hours in a clinical setting, actively participating and paying attention, and you've had a variety of conversations with new physicians and old-timers (nurses & physicians & administrators), you have a basis to consider the pursuit of medicine. When you've spent time with some old, jaded, cynical, baffled, soon-to-retire physicians (particularly in primary care) who hope and pray that their kids and grandkids don't want to be doctors, you've hit the motherlode of what you need to know.

Getting clinical exposure before you get in too deep is highly recommended. Continuing to spend serious time in a clinical setting, while you get in deep, is recommended.

How to start: pick a hospital, find their website, find their volunteer page.

When to start: today.

Best of luck to you.
 
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TylerJ

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I'm also worried that because I don't have any experience in a health-related field that my dreams are rather rose-colored and romanticized. I've begun searching for some books and articles about being a medical profession in today's times. If anybody has any suggestions or links, that would also be appreciated.

Age is not a huge factor unless you're 60+, but there were/are medical students in their sixties.

As for the quoted text, make sure you're pretty sure you want to take the plunge. Go volunteer and/or shadow a physician to gain a better idea of what the job is like to discover if it suits your desires.
 

theseeker4

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In addition to the very valid and vital advice to shadow and volunteer before you commit to anything, what is your overall GPA from all the college classes you ever took, including classes you got a poor grade in and then retook later? This will be the difference between gaining admission being a (relative) cakewalk for you and it being a half-decade long grueling process with a slim sliver of hope at gaining admission at the end (which is then followed by 4 years of med school and 3-10+ years of residency and fellowships). I don't want to be negative, but those two options could make the decision for you, or you could still decide to pursue medicine no matter how long or difficult the path.
 

sagain

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I just found this forum and I am happy to find a section dedicated to nontraditional students! This year I will be turning 30 and I have a 2 year old son. I'm very seriously considering medical school, but am afraid that it might be too late for me to achieve my dreams. I graduated high school in 2000 and it took me 7 years to get my B.S. in a non-science related field of study; the first 4 years was spent not knowing what I wanted to do and bouncing from school to school. Ever since graduating, I have taken evening courses as a continuing education student and most of these are science related: microbiology, anatomy and physiology (I and II), statistics. For a while I thought I would be applying to become a nurse, but the past year and a half I have begun to realize I want to be a doctor. I am interested in neonatology and endocrinology (kind of random), but I don't have any experience in the medical field (other than medical billing) so at this time I would probably surprise myself with what I might be interested in later. I believe becoming a nurse is a noble and challenging profession and would probably fulfill my desire to continually learn and help people, but I believe I would also still want more.

I'm looking for advice in general and hopefully from someone else who has taken the plunge despite being older and having a young child.

I'm also worried that because I don't have any experience in a health-related field that my dreams are rather rose-colored and romanticized. I've begun searching for some books and articles about being a medical profession in today's times. If anybody has any suggestions or links, that would also be appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

Welcome to SDN. I am more of a reader than a poster but I will give you my 2 cents.

1. Read SDN and OldPreMeds as much as you can. You will get lots of useful info which save you time and money.
2. Listen to gonnif and Dr. Midlife
3. Start shadowing. Believe me it will do wonders.

Good luck
 

cabinbuilder

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I just found this forum and I am happy to find a section dedicated to nontraditional students! This year I will be turning 30 and I have a 2 year old son. I'm very seriously considering medical school, but am afraid that it might be too late for me to achieve my dreams. I graduated high school in 2000 and it took me 7 years to get my B.S. in a non-science related field of study; the first 4 years was spent not knowing what I wanted to do and bouncing from school to school. Ever since graduating, I have taken evening courses as a continuing education student and most of these are science related: microbiology, anatomy and physiology (I and II), statistics. For a while I thought I would be applying to become a nurse, but the past year and a half I have begun to realize I want to be a doctor. I am interested in neonatology and endocrinology (kind of random), but I don't have any experience in the medical field (other than medical billing) so at this time I would probably surprise myself with what I might be interested in later. I believe becoming a nurse is a noble and challenging profession and would probably fulfill my desire to continually learn and help people, but I believe I would also still want more.

I'm looking for advice in general and hopefully from someone else who has taken the plunge despite being older and having a young child.

I'm also worried that because I don't have any experience in a health-related field that my dreams are rather rose-colored and romanticized. I've begun searching for some books and articles about being a medical profession in today's times. If anybody has any suggestions or links, that would also be appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!


Your post is like looking at myself in the mirror.

Took me 7 years to get my bachelors
Had 2 kids
Did a year post-bacc in preparation of the future and impending divorce
Got divorced
Applied three years in a row before I was accepted
I think I took every pre-req over at least 4 times.
Took the MCAT 4 times
My pre-medical advisor didn't think I would even get accepted
The director of the WAMI program told me women don't belong in medicine and that I should be home having babies.
Moved 5000 miles across the country to live my dream
Got remarried in the process

Note the 12 year gap between undergrad graduation and medical school graduation

Started medical school at age 32 with a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old.
Graduated from residency at 40. Loving my life every day.

Feel free to PM if you need.
 
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sagain

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Your post is like looking at myself in the mirror.

Took me 7 years to get my bachelors
Had 2 kids
Did a year post-bacc in preparation of the future and impending divorce
Got divorced
Applied three years in a row before I was accepted
I think I took every pre-req over at least 4 times.
Took the MCAT 4 times
My pre-medical advisor didn't think I would even get accepted
The director of the WAMI program told me women don't belong in medicine and that I should be home having babies.
Moved 5000 miles across the country to live my dream
Got remarried in the process

Started medical school at age 32 with a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old.
Graduated from residency at 40. Loving my life every day.

Feel free to PM if you need.

WOW.....so inspiring
 

cabinbuilder

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Welcome to SDN. I am more of a reader than a poster but I will give you my 2 cents.

1. Read SDN and OldPreMeds as much as you can. You will get lots of useful info which save you time and money.
2. Listen to gonnif
3. Start shadowing. Believe me it will do wonders.

Good luck

I concur that old premeds is also a good site. I met Dr. Levy (gonnif) last year when I spoke at their conference. It was a great time. I wish I had more time to go this year. Make a plan, figure out after shadowing if the life is equal to what your perception is and do what you need to do to get where you want to be.
 

oCrystal

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I posted this message in a different thread, but I believe it applies here as well. If you really want to pursue a life in medicine age and experience can actually prove quite beneficial. In any event, good luck and hopefully my abbreviated story below helps.

Enlisted in the Navy after 9/11, was selected for an officer accession program while deployed to Iraq. I would ultimately wind up resigning my commission, for the reasons outlined below, after nearly 9 years of active duty service. I had always planned on attending law school and actually utilizing that degree in Criminal Justice. Life apparently had other plans for me. In October 2008 my wife gave birth to 29 week triplet girls. On day 1 of life one of my daughters was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot and a chromosomal deletion known commonly as DiGeorge Syndrome. After a lengthy NICU stay for all 3, my special needs daughter would still require multiple open heart surgeries and catheterizations, neurosurgery, while also having a severely compromised immune system resulting in over 15 hospitalizations to date.

As challenging as the last 3 + years have been they, and more specifically my daughter, led me to medicine. With the support of my wife and family I began taking the pre reqs for med school. Often missing class to take my daughters to appointments or simply being in the hospital for weeks at a time with my daughter proved beyond challenging. I was unwilling to deploy or be away from my daughter and family during these tumultuous times. This is what necessitated my resignation. Obviously completing all of the pre reqs, studying for and taking the MCAT, and enduring the application process was difficult to say the least. These life experiences and what I have learned from them are what I will bring to the medical profession. I love reading the Non-trad board. Everyone has such compelling stories. Good luck to all those still pursuing their dream.

Accepted Class of 2016 MD

By the way, graduated high school in '99 and applied at age 30.
 

cabinbuilder

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I posted this message in a different thread, but I believe it applies here as well. If you really want to pursue a life in medicine age and experience can actually prove quite beneficial. In any event, good luck and hopefully my abbreviated story below helps.

Enlisted in the Navy after 9/11, was selected for an officer accession program while deployed to Iraq. I would ultimately wind up resigning my commission, for the reasons outlined below, after nearly 9 years of active duty service. I had always planned on attending law school and actually utilizing that degree in Criminal Justice. Life apparently had other plans for me. In October 2008 my wife gave birth to 29 week triplet girls. On day 1 of life one of my daughters was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot and a chromosomal deletion known commonly as DiGeorge Syndrome. After a lengthy NICU stay for all 3, my special needs daughter would still require multiple open heart surgeries and catheterizations, neurosurgery, while also having a severely compromised immune system resulting in over 15 hospitalizations to date.

As challenging as the last 3 + years have been they, and more specifically my daughter, led me to medicine. With the support of my wife and family I began taking the pre reqs for med school. Often missing class to take my daughters to appointments or simply being in the hospital for weeks at a time with my daughter proved beyond challenging. I was unwilling to deploy or be away from my daughter and family during these tumultuous times. This is what necessitated my resignation. Obviously completing all of the pre reqs, studying for and taking the MCAT, and enduring the application process was difficult to say the least. These life experiences and what I have learned from them are what I will bring to the medical profession. I love reading the Non-trad board. Everyone has such compelling stories. Good luck to all those still pursuing their dream.

Accepted Class of 2016 MD

By the way, graduated high school in '99 and applied at age 30.

Excellent story. You will make a fabulous physician.
 

DrHoffy

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It is really never too late...if this is what you want to do. I would suggest that you go and shadow not only Doctors, but also nurses, etc. Get a full 360 view of what medicine ...and if you can try seeing medicine in the acute (ER), acute on chronic/acute (hospital floors), and the chronic (outpatient medicine)...you may find that you love hospital medicine but hate private practice or vice versa. Not only will this help you make this decision to take this journey, but you will need consistent long term shadowing/volunteering for your application...so start now.

As for my stroy....briefly, I started pre med at 17. I had some major trauma about 5 days before I started college, managed to essentially fail out after three semesters. Moved in with family, took classes at a CC to get my application competitive enough just to apply to the state school. Got admitted to NCSU. Did Mediocre at best but graduated in 1998.

Flailed around for the next year and a half after college doing everything from serving tables to working HR at a computer firm, to working at a ropes course/team building facilty for inner city youth.

Moved back to raleigh in 2000 and started working at a large corporation where I stayed for the next 5 years....and somewhere in the middle of that I realized I still wanted to do medicine, and began making my dismal application competitive again. I applied for three years in a row- MD for first two, DO the third ( I got interviews every single year). Even moved to Georgetown to do the SMP-which I failed the neuro course-so failed the program. Once I got to med school though (I was never the gunner ) I never failed a class or a board and I was extremly active at the school and on the national level.

So, moral is if you want to do this-you can. Just make sure it is what you want to do because it is a marathon not a sprint.
M
 

apotato

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Wow, thank you very much for all the replies- this has definitely given me a lot of hope for my own future. Taking the first step is the hardest!

theseeker4, My GPA for my undergrad was 3.8 and I graduated magna cum laude. My continuing education GPA has stayed at that and, hopefully with this A&P 2 course, may go up a little. My SATs are from ages ago and, quite honestly, I don't remember how I did. Is it possible to retake them now, at my age? Seems kind of funny almost! :) I have not taken any other necessary tests yet (MCAT, GRE possibly?)- I'll have to check and see what is required.

DrMidlife, thanks for the sage advice. The very day I posted the initial thread I ran to the Volunteer page at Beverly Hospital that is local to me and filled it out. I hope I can get in to either of their locations, as they are conveniently located to where I live and work. I'll let you know when I get in!

oCrystal, your story is heart wrenching but heart warming at the same time- I greatly admire your dedication and love truly knows no boundaries. I have a strong interest in neonatology, but I don't know if I have the emotional strength to deal with the lows.

cabinbuilder, I definitely would love to hear more about your story. It seems we're on similar paths, although I am down a kid so far. :)

I did a little more research on the beginning steps and I have come to realize that I will most likely need to take a pre-med-post-bacc program, which will set me back at least 2 years (1 year organic chem, 1 year inorganic chem). My 1 year of organic chemistry I did in undergrad probably won't count because they are old credits now... I think my statistics course will hold, but I will also need to take a physics and some kind of math. I am not worried that I will do badly, but I am getting more worried about the timing of everything.

Also, how was everyone in terms of debt after they finished? Especially if you have a child/children and a house and a car... Did anybody attempt to work while doing their med school? (Was there even time?)

Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply.
 
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DrMidlife

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For speed, look at the structured formal postbacs like Bryn Mawr & Goucher on the east coast, and Scripps and Mills on the west coast. These can get you through the prereqs & MCAT in one year with med school matriculation immediately after that year (this is known as "linkage"). They are expensive. They are highly selective, and will look at your GPA (which is great) as well as your SAT and clinical exposure.

If you are able to start taking classes this summer, you can slam genchem during summer session and still get done in one year, at any convenient school that offers a decent summer session. You would then take the MCAT and you would then have an "app year".

Note that your MCAT exam date should be no later than April to have an early MD app. If you can't take the MCAT by July, imho you should not apply MD that summer. This is a huge consideration in trying to get all the prereqs done fast - it's pointless to map out that year without taking MCAT dates and app year into account.

Put some thought into how much studying suckage you want to take on before med school. If you put 2 years into prep before you apply, that leaves you more time to spend with your family, and it gives you more flexibility (cost, location, etc) in getting a good app together. You don't have the option to be flexible once you're in med school.

Best of luck to you.
 

cabinbuilder

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cabinbuilder, I definitely would love to hear more about your story. It seems we're on similar paths, although I am down a kid so far. :)

Also, how was everyone in terms of debt after they finished? Especially if you have a child/children and a house and a car... Did anybody attempt to work while doing their med school? (Was there even time?)

Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply.

You are welcome to PM me for any specifics.
I had huge debt when I graduated medical school/residency. 250K in grad student loans, 20K in undergrad loans, 20K in credit card debt, 8K personal loan with outrageous high interest, car loans, house loan, divorce lawyer bill, consolidation loan for other past debt, medial bills etc. Been digging out the last three years after finishing residency and the end is in sight. Takes a while.

I would not advise trying to work in medical school, there really isn't time. I had a few fellow students who worked a saturday as a nurse or in the lab but they were single and did it for the break. There were a few entrepreneurial souls in my class: one guy bought a triplex and rented out the other two units and essentially paid off his building by the time graduation came around.
 

yossarian444

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To gain healthcare experience and to learn about the un-glamorous side of medicine, consider working as a nursing assistant at a nursing home or rehab facility part-time (I did this on weekends as a pre-med in addition to working full time at a career-type job and taking post-bac science classes part time). Depending on your state, it only requires like an 80 hour training course to get certified. Pay is +/- minimum wage, but you experience the very, very, very un-glamorous side of medicine. Plus, med school admissions interviewers and even residency interviewers love asking about the experience - at least that was the case for me. You'll be able to nail the obligatory med school admissions question of "medicine is often not pretty. How are you certain you want to do this?"

Too many pre-meds do EMT or paramedic work or lame volunteer work where you don't dedicate 100% of your working hours to patient care like you do for nursing assisting. Plus, by already working at a healthcare facility, it's easy to use the connections there to find meaningful shadowing opportunities in the primary care docs (or physiatrists if rehab place) who see patients at the facility. It's also good for an awesome letter of rec from one your supervisors. Physicians hold a lot of respect for a person willing to change diapers on adult patients all day long while being yelled at by nurses and patient family members just to reach for a dream that might never materialize.

Oh yeah, and debt: I'll be about 320k in debt between undergrad, post-bac, and med school when I finish in a few weeks. No kids for me though.
 
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NightGod

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38, been back in school for two years now. Walked in with a 2.815 GPA/33 CR from earlier mistaken runs at school/not really caring when I was younger. Just graduated from the local community college after 4 semesters of straight As (all while working full time (with a very flexible schedule) and reminding my teenage kids they have a father) with a 3.614 GPA and headed to a nearby four year school in the fall. If all goes to plan, I'll be in my early 50s when I'm finished with my medical education (currently leaning towards a surgical specialty, based on my personality and desires, likely ortho or trauma, but that's all subject to change, of course).

The single most important thing for me has been to make my education the second most important thing in my life (children always come first, of course). Relationships, friendships, leisure activities, work, everything that isn't school takes a back seat. That's not to say I've become a hermit-I still date (though I make it very clear early on that they have to fall below my education in importance), go out with friends (though certainly not every weekend), workout most mornings with a friend of mine (45+ pounds lost in the last year). But everything can, and does, go by the wayside if something important is happening with school.
 

NightGod

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Welcome to SDN. I am more of a reader than a poster but I will give you my 2 cents.

1. Read SDN and OldPreMeds as much as you can. You will get lots of useful info which save you time and money.
2. Listen to gonnif and Dr. Midlife
3. Start shadowing. Believe me it will do wonders.

Good luck

Just want to add in something here, in regards to point 1. Do that...for a couple/few months. Then walk away. The group on these forums are, by nature of being the sorts of people looking for this information, a somewhat neurotic bunch. That neurosis can become infectious if you aren't careful. Come around, read enough to get a solid grasp on what you need to accomplish, then leave when you hit the point where you read about someone with a 3.7/34 and think "oh man, they're never getting in". Come back next summer and repeat.
 
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